Inglewood, CA asked in Civil Litigation for California

Q: What is the difference between a contingency case and a pro bono case

It's a debate me and my husband have been having trying to figure out the difference between pro bono and contingency and if the contingency baste win can be considered pro bono up until win

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1 Lawyer Answer
Travis Kendall Siegel
Travis Kendall Siegel
  • Tustin, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: A contingency case is contingent on the outcome. If you're successful at trial or the case settles for an amount of money, the attorney takes a certain percentage of the award. If you lose at trial or the case is dismissed and you have no monetary recovery, the attorney takes zero. Some lawyers write their attorney-client retainer agreements in such a way that they can recover their costs in certain situations even if you lose, but this isn't the norm. So yes, a contingency case can be considered pro bono up until you "win" because the attorney is spending his or her own money and time without asking you to pay him or her back.

A pro bono case is pursued for free even if you "win". The attorney takes no percentage and recovers nothing in most pro bono cases no matter the outcome.

Tim Akpinar and Theodore Allan Greene agree with this answer

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